tv Countdown to Republican Convention CNN August 26, 2012 9:30pm-10:59pm EDT
documentary, "romney revealed," including moments from gloria borger interview we haven't seen before. we're also following very important developments with tropical storm isaac. look at this. the center of the storm now is expected to move away from the florida keys tonight and spend monday in the eastern gulf of mexico. it's expected to be hurricane strength by tuesday, as it approaches the u.s. gulf coast. foreca forecasters say it could hit new orleans tuesday night or early wednesday. that would be the anniversary of hurricane katrina. officials declared a state of emergency today. the louisiana governor, bobby jindal is asking for voluntary evacuations in low-lying areas. we will have a complete updated forecast in a little while. anderson, this is very very worrying. >> a remarkable to think it could hit on the anniversary of hurricane katrina. a lot of people in florida breathing a sigh of relief. now the focus turns to the gulf coast.
we've all seen something extraordinary this evening, mitt romney and his wife, ann romney really opening about their remarkable life stories and giving details few people have ever heard and let alone in their own words and the remarkable part about gloria borger's interview is when they discuss his wife diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. >> it was just before thanksgiving 1998. >> she began to see numbness on her right side, larger and larger and had more trouble getting upstairs and went to a neurologist. >> romney's life was aren't to take an unexpected and unhappy turn. >> we went into his office and he performed and examination. it was clear she was flunking the examination. she couldn't stand on her right foot without falling over and he stepped out, she began to cry. i wield up tears as well. we hugged each other. she said something's terribly
wrong. >> at i'm 49, ann romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an incurable disease that can shut down the central nervous system. >> you don't know how much it will spit me out and when it is going to spit me out? how cirk amsick am i going to g? will i be in a wheelchair? it's a very frightening place to be. >> ann was distraught and distressed with the diagnosis as time went on. she was really ill for quite a while. >> i really just was having a very very hard time and was very depressed and had kind of given up a little bit. >> it was a tough moment for both of them. it was interesting to see the way he treated her, as they went through that, very caring, very loving, very frustrating for him not to be able to step in and fix it, and -- but it w was -- they drew ev closer. >> even when i was as sick as
that, he would curl up in this bed with me. >> take a minute. >> so, you just knew that that's where he was. it was like, he was going to do anything he could to just say, i'm here, you're okay. just stay right there. and we'll be okay. >> wolf and i are with our cnn colleagues, gloria borger, candy crowley and john king. you worked on that a long time. were they reluctant to open themselves in this way. it is an emotional interview the likes i haven't seen with them? >> i think in many ways it was easier for arne romney to talk about this part of their lives than mitt romney. for a while, i think the campaign was sort of worried. do they have mitt romney do sort of the personal journey? do they have him talk about his
mormonism, which they're worried about. do they have him open up? they also quite frankly think he's not a guy who opens up very easily or very well. so i think there was this question about whether he should do it. we've been talking to them for a very long time. then one day, i had interviewed ann first and one day i got a phone call and said, you know, can you meet us out in the midwest this weekend for an interview with the governor? >> it's interesting, wolf, the obama campaign really has tried to define mitt romney before mitt romney really has spent a lot of time trying to define himself to the american public. >> they want to define him in a negative way as much as possible. ann romney is really a positive asset. she is an amazing woman, given all she's gone through, the personal very inspiring story, dealing with her illness, ms, with breast cancer, raising a wonderful family, having this great relationship with her husband. about a year or so ago i went to iowa, before the iowa caucuses
and spent some time with them on that bus and i saw that inner working relationship we don't often see it on television. this is a wonderful love story that they've had that is truly inspiring. >> it's interesting, john, because do you think it was a mistake for the campaign for the romney campaign to focus -- they focused so much on the economy early on and didn't really develop a narrative about who mitt romney is? >> they made an early strategic decision to try to make this sole li a referendum on the president, almost forget mitt romney was in the race, an overstatement, said he's had his chance, been there 3 1/2 years, four years by the time the election comes around, make your vote judged solely whether he kept his promises and turned the economy around an if you think he has not, elect me president. they realize now that wasn't working and why you have seen them shift. to the ann romney story, they would like a bump in the polls and know the convention is second and know they leave with a big bump and then it
disappears. not worried about the horse race numbers about underlying numbers. and mitt romney fails the test when people ask does he understand you? get you and understand your struggles? you see ann romney dealing with a struggle. mitt romney is a data guy, bring me the numbers, invest in this business? send the money? no. ms, there is no cure, study the numbers all you want, monday, good, tuesday okay, thursday, you're bad. the fact he had to struggle most people don't think. they think he's the spoiled rich kid and what the obama campaign spent the spring and summer saying. >> how important has ann romney been to the campaign. early in the primary you didn't see her introducing mitt romney and she started to and it started to work. >> it's nice she introduces him. people say, here's his wife, here's his kids. it helps to have a spouse on the trail. we've seen it back in many, many candidat candidates. tipper gore livened up al gore, gave him some energy, laura bush
sort of calmed george bush down. and certainly ann romney humanizes and relaxes mitt romney in a way that when he is out there, i think he's more relaxed when she's around. the beauty of this story is exactly what john is getting to. she tried to do this a little bit clumsily early on when they were talking about, well, they don't relate to anybody and don't understand people like me and she said, i know what it's like to face this kind of devastating illness. it ran off the rails. she said it clumsily when she did it. she did it beautifully this time. nobody wishes this sort of illness on anyone. having said that, this is something most every one can relate to. >> right. mitt romney's likability numbers are under water right now. so he needs something to soften him up, to humanize him, i guess, in one word. everybody knows mitt romney believes he's a fixer and he can fix the economy.
the question is, you know, presidential votes are very personal. people have to think that they can trust you if they're going to vote for you. how will they know they can trust you? >> we started to see more of mitt romney's personal side, reporters were allowed to accompany him to church just recently. you talked during the documentary to him at great length about his faith. we want to talk about that. we are following tropical storm isaac. it should miss tampa but could hit new orleans. we'll update you on the forecast in just a minute and then discuss the part of gloria's interview where mitt romney opened up about his faith and work as a missionary and the traffic accident that almost killed him. >> the policeman on the scene apparently thought i was in worse condition than i was and wrote in french, he is dead, on my passport, to distinguish me from others. that made it back to the united states in a press report, that i had been killed in an accident in france. my parents heard this through
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katri katrina. it could even move towards new orleans. >> it could. i saw it south of florida, south of texas and you can see how broad it is affecting part of florida and as it moves up to new orleans could be a big storm for tropical storm isaac. chad myers has been tracking this since the beginning when he had that done that's become much more narrow. hi, chad. >> hi, erin. getting more colorful, too. when you see the brighter colors you know the storm is getting stronger. every time you get rain in florida, not just in tampa, everywhere in florida. if it starts to rain tonight, the wind will pick up. translating the air and wind around you, up in the atmosphere down to you. that happens in any hurricane, tropical storm. it starts to rain, wind will pick up. rain goes away, wind goes away. that's how it will be. trying to find out if it's getting stronger or not and it
is. it may be a category 2 and the hurricane center says could be a 3 if they get left or right on this forecast and gets into warmer water, could be a very big story for the gulf coast. erin. >> chad, what about the timing in terms of landfall. you talk about category 2 and 3. people really start to have flashbacks. when could it hit? >> depends where it hits. the cone still matters. if it goes on this side of the cone towards mobile, a shorter trip. still doing 15 miles an hour. if you don't have to go as far, won't take as long. maybe 9:00 on wednesday. if it takes the longer trip all the way to new iberia or beaumont port arthur, that's the other side, a long trip. that may be 8:00 wednesday night. the longer it's in the water, the bigger it can get because it is very warm water. >> it looks like the west coast of florida will be okay, maybe even the panhandle will be okay. how worried should we be about
new orleans right now? >> very. without a question, every successive run has moved this hurricane to the left, a tropical storm now but certainly turns into a hurricane either tonight or tomorrow. so this hurricane is consistently been moving farther and farther to the left. by the time we looked at this on monday, it was through florida, then tuesday and wednesday and thursday and now it's way over here. if it keeps going, florida is gone, new orleans is right in its sights. >> thanks very much to chad and, of course, the mayor of new orleans saying no shelters of last resort. >> we will speak to him coming up very soon. i want to find out, are they ready? it's been seven years almost exactly. >> all right. that's coming up later on and we're about to hear more from gloria borger's revealing interview with ann and mitt romney including mitt romney's recalling a traffic accident that almost killed him and ann's thoughts it did kill him and ann
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welcome back. we're coming to you from tampa tonight. obviously at the republican national convention. during campaign spots, mitt romney rarely discusses his faith or experience as missionary for church of the latter day saints, also known as mormons. this is eye opening. listen as mitt romney describes his own struggles and doubts and how he almost died. >> i think as a 18-year-old, 19-year-old in this case, you rely in part on the faith of your parents. you've gone to church with them
and pretty much follow in their footsteps without giving it too much thought. when you're off in a foreign place and you only talk to your parents once or twice a year by phone. that's all that's allowed, you're out speaking with people day in and day out about your faith and your religion and differences between it and other faiths. >> getting doors face. >> most of the time. this was a time when a lot of people were not happy with america and france, so it was a pretty time -- a great deal of rejection. you say, what's important here? what do i believe? what's truth? is there a god? is jesus christ the son of god? these are questions that are no longer academic. they're kit call because you're talking about that day in and day out. so i read scripture with much more interest and concern and sought to draw closer to god through my own prayer. these things drew me closer to the eternal and convinced me that, in fact, there is a god, that jesus christ is the son of god and my savior, and these are
features that continue to be important in my life, of course. >> when you were there, you almost died on the side of a road in bordeaux. you were hit by a drunk driver. do you remember that accident? >> i remember very distinctly driving up until the point of the accident. i don't recall what happened at the accident. i was knocked unconscious and only remember waking up for a brief moment in the ambulance going to the hospital and again was unconscious and woke up some time later in the hospital. but we were hit. the person sitting next to me died. others were severely injured. my injuries were not as severe as some might have thought. the policeman on the scene apparently thought i was in worse condition than i was and wrote in french "he is dead" on my passport to distinguish me from others. that made it back to the united
states in a press report that i had been killed in an accident in france. my parents heard this through the media, as did ann. >> does he talk about that as formative or -- because he then ran the mission. >> well, it was traumatic for him because the woman -- he was driving, and the woman sitting next to him was killed. the man sitting on the passenger's seat was very, very seriously injured. mitt was wedged and the steering wheel turned and wedged into the woman sitting next to him and he was thrown out of the car. you realize how close your brush with death was. again t has to have an impact on you, which it did for mitt. how precious life is and how quick you can lose your life. then, of course, he then had to step forward and take over running the mission as that was the mission president that was sent home, and there was this interim period where mitt was in charge of a lot of responsibility as a very young
man. >> a lot of information. really haven't heard much about it before. gloria borger is with us. we're also joined by james carville and david gergen. gloria, it is interesting. you really don't hear mitt romney discussing faith too much on the campaign trail. >> no, and i think it's something that early on in the campaign they decided. alex knows an awful lot about this because he worked in the 2008 campaign when mitt romney had to give the faith speech to sort of talk about mormonism and talk about his faith. this time, i think, there was a sense we've already done that. we did that in 2008. we don't need to do that now. except when you run for the presidency, people want to know who you are. >> david, you're shaking your head head. you think that was a mistake? >> it's stunning to me that we've waited this long into this campaign for them to go public with this and talk to gloria the way they have. that conversation not only humanizes him, it begins to take some of the mystery out of his mormonism.
the more he talks about his faith, we begin to see some of the caring side of mitt romney, some of the human side, which we have not seen. gloria said earlier, it is the single most personal choice voters make. for no other office in this country do they really think a lot about the character of the person they're votedi ivoting f. >> it's also clearlyplayed a large role in mitt romney's wife. how important is it for him in decision making? >> a lot of people look at mitt romney and say, i don't know what his core is. i think gloria found it tonight. his core is family and faith. those two things. his values, his political ideology comes not from a textbook. it comes from living with his family and his faith. so i think it's the very thing that anchors him, but he's not madonna. he's not a public person. he does not wear -- >> he's running for president though. >> well, that's important. one of the things we have in politics -- >> so it's hard for him, you're saying, to reveal things like
this. >> he's old school in that way. there's a certain dignity to that. but in politic, one of the things we have is the law of the car keys. if i'm going to give you my car keys to take me somewhere, what do i want to know? not only where you promise to take me, but can i trust you to take me there? it's the same in politics. i not only want to know policy, i want to know who you are. >> james, you've run campaigns. how important is that for voters to feel like they know this person? >> it's very important. it's sort of a circle that wasn't complete about him. one of the interesting things his wife said was in private, he's a gun gfun guy. when you get into public, there's things you can't say and do. that's true. if voters think there's a private side and a public side, they wonder if it's a real person. i agree with david. they need to do this kind of stuff. you know, i think it was smart
of them to do that. look, i mean, he's a mormon like i'm a louisianan. it's engrained in him. >> we got to take a quick break. we want to talk more about this. david, you said something to me during the documentary that was interesting. when george romney had said something which caused a huge amount of controversy when he was running for president. really destroyed his campaign. mitt romney may have learned from that. we'll talk about that when we come back. we have more to discuss, more from gloria's interviews with the romneys. we're also keeping an eye on tropical storm isaac, soon to be hurricane isaac. we'll give you the latest of that and talk to the mayor of new orleans, who's declared a state of emergency. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] citi turns 200 this year.
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with a deep awareness of the responsibility conferred by your trust, i accept your nomination for the presidency of the united states. >> this is america, a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky. >> i call on every american to rise above all that may divide us. >> they had their chance. they have not led. we will. >> fight with me. fight with me. fight for what's right for our country. >> this is cnn. we're live in florida at the tampa bay times forum.
>> good evening, everyone. we're counting down to the republican national convention. the timetable, of course, has been shaken up by events beyond anyone's control. >> a state of emergency on the gulf coast. >> let's hope and pray for the best, even as we prepare for the worst. >> isaac churns toward louisiana and mississippi after lashing southern florida and delaying the republican convention. >> when the storm passes and the sun comes out, it's going to be great to be in tampa. >> mitt romney's party catches a break. tampa appears to dodge the worst of the storm and the republican show will go on. one day late. tonight, we're tracking isaac's path, the damage, and the danger ahead. >> the only predictable issue of the storms is the unpredictability. >> and we're taking you behind the scenes of the republican national convention and the romney campaign. ann romney talks candidly about
her health crisis and collapse around super tuesday. it's a part of her revealing interview with cnn that's never aired before. >> it's like you can't take another step. you will fall over. >> and we'll give you a vip tour of the convention hall and show the arena the way party insiders will see it. now, our republican convention countdown. the players, the issues, the stakes, and the storm. the road to the white house leads through tampa right now. >> it is going to be an exciting week. you're looking at a live picture from outside the tampa bay times forum. tropical storm isaac has literally put a damper on the preconvention activity and excitement, but there will be a lot of excitement here this week. inside it is dry and ready to go. the big question tonight is how the republicans will squeeze four days into just three days. good evening, everyone. i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm wolf blitzer.
we're watching all of the developments as they unfold. it looks like tampa has certainly dodged a bullet. tropical storm isaac may have forced the republicans to cancel monday's convention schedule, but it won't hit this city. the center of the storm is expected to move away from the florida keys tonight, spend mondays in the eastern gulf of mexico. it's expected to be hurricane strength by tuesday as it approaches the u.s. gulf coast. forecasters say it could hit new orleans tuesday night or early wednesday. that would be the anniversary of hurricane katrina. officials declared a state of emergency today in the area and louisiana's governor is. >> we'll give you an update on where the storm it tracking. brian todd is in naples, florida. we'll also get the big picture from chad myers.
really want to give you a sense of where this storm is heading. chad, let's start with you. what is the latest on isaac's path? >> getting stronger, and i know that because the colors are getting brighter. there's more purple in the last couple of frames. that means there's higher clouds. there's bigger storms. as soon as we get an eye, this storm is really going to get quicker, bigger quicker. back here toward miami and tampa, we have storms tonight. some of these storms could rotate. there may be tornados from this, even though the eye is moving away, or the center is moving away, there still could be tornadoes on land in south florida maybe all the way up toward melbourne. there's key west right there. the center of circulation is just to the west. here's the new model track, the guidance. we're still moving the storm farther and farther to the west. this line right here, that's the forecast right there. there are more models to the west than there are to the east, which tells me that later on tonight we could get another
shift farther to the left. that could put new orleans smack dab in the middle of the right side of the eye, which would be the worst possible scenario. >> chad, any ideas how strong it could be when it hits land? >> there's not really any way to tell. if it stays disorganized, it could just be a tropical storm. i don't think that's going to happen. as soon as it gets an eye, as soon as it gets its heat engine running, literally -- this is an engine that runs by the heat of the ocean. this could easily get to be a category 2. when we talked to the hurricane center, they said category 3. >> chad, we'll continue to check with you. brian todd is in naples, florida, where they've been feeling isaac's effect for most of the day. what's it been like? >> reporter: anderson a lot of rain here. huge bands of rain have circulated through all day. they've just tailed off now. a big sense of relief here in naples. here's what they were concerned about, this high tide right here
combining with storm surge. they thought that would create flooding problems for this area around here. hasn't happened. now they're really relieved. they don't think it's going to happen. they were worried about maybe 10 inches of rain falling. we got close to that because we were through several bands of rain earlier today. we just stood out here as band after band came, whether it was 10 inches, i doubt it. they were worried about that because the ground was already saturated. they have dodged a bullet in this part of florida. i talked to the emergency management coordinator. he was audibly relieved when i spoke to him on the phone. even the tornado watches that may still happen, they've tailed those off a little bit as far as predictions. they think they're out of the woods as far as that's concerned. big sense of relief here in naples. >> no doubt about it. let's turn now to new orleans. for that, let's go to wolf blitzer. >> thank, anderson. we're watching a state of emergency that has been declared in preparation for isaac in new orleans and that entire area.
it's a real big problem. >> it really is. you heard chad talking about a possible category 3. that storm is expected to hit on or around the seventh anniversary of hurricane katrina. if it hits early wednesday morning that, would be the anniversa anniversary. joining us in the mayor of new orleans. we appreciate you taking the time. are you ready for this storm? i know today you were talking and saying, look, there's no shelters of last resort. what did to you mean by that? >> what i said is we would not use the super dome or convention center as a shelter of last resort. in other words, people need to make preparations to evacuate. for those that cannot evacuate, we have the capability of moving the people that have signed up out of town. we feel really good about that. >> do you have the capability of dealing with what chad myers was just reporting? could be a category 3 hurricane. >> let's be clear about what he said. there's a lot of uncertainty around this storm. these storms take on their own personalities.
isaac doesn't have a good sense of humor or great timing, for that matter. when it gets in the gulf, there are a couple things that could happen. we're not sure about it yet. we're not prepared to call for a mandatory evacuation at this point. we're in communication with the secretary of homelands security and of course the governor who you saw earlier. we are in -- it was what they call battle rhythm. we're meeting on a continual basis. we are, in fact, prepared for the storm. again, so much of this is driven by citizens taking responsibility for themselves and being prepared. as the governor as said, and i think this is a good motto, always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. we don't know whether it's going to be a category 2. we sense it could be that. as the weather man said, it would be possible. anything is possible in these circumstances. it could go into a category 3. of course, that would ramp things up fairly significantly for everybody, irrespective of where a hurricane hits. >> what are you doing, mayor -- this is wolf asking the question -- about the elderly in
new orleans in the area? because all of us remember the horror stories from seven years ago. >> yes, no question about that. one of the things we have done over the last couple years is made sure that we have access numbers for people to call to register in the event that we call a mandatory evacuation and they're unable to evacuate. we have 17 zones in the city where we pick people up. we have a fairly detailed bus evacuation program, and we have shelters in place in other parts of the state that are in safe zones. that process is in place. we're prepared to execute that in the event that we're called on to do so. but as your weather indicated earlier, one of the things that's so concerning is the uncertainty of this storm. as it moves into the gulf, we may have some other plans tomorrow when we see a little bit more certainty. >> what about all the levies? are they ready to withstand whatever is coming your way? >> we've made huge improvements
over the last couple of years. the levies are built to sustain a strong category 3 storm. once we get past that, though, bets are off. so i think we have to, you know, continue to be vigilant. again, i think one of the things that has to happen is people have to be prepared. they're watching all the information that's on the tv. they have to make preparations they see fit in the event we call a mandatory evacuation. i want to stress we have not done that yet. we'll continue to work very, very closely with all of our federal partners, our state partners, and local partners. >> mayor, i just wanted to ask, i was looking at the numbers from the census. the hit that katrina took on new orleans. your overall population was down 20%. even more damning, is the word s the population of children is down 44%. are you worried another big storm hits it really calls into question your city? >> well, not -- no, not
particularly. i think new orleans, as we have said many, many times over the last couple years, is critically important to the rest of the nation. it really is important enough to protect the way that we have. we're going to continue to advocate for higher levy protection over time. the value of new orleans to the country is really incalculable. i think we've continued to show america what resilience looks like and what it looks like to have to get up off your knees and work really hard. i feel good about that. much like tampa is at risk, all along the gulf coast is at risk, and anybody that lives in coastal areas of the country continue to be at risk from catastrophic events that we're seeing more of unfortunately in the last couple years. >> let's hope the federal, state, and local authorities, mayor, everyone is ready for this. i assume a lot of lessons have been learned. good luck to you. >> thank you very much. everybody is on point. we're ready to go. >> good luck, mayor.
we'll be with you every step of the way. thanks very much. we're going to be with the entire gulf coast, in fact. we're going to be watching this very, very closely. anderson, back to you. >> tonight we're also releasing new cnn polls. we asked voters how mitt romney stacks up against president obama on a number of vitally important issues. romney backers may find the numbers very encouraging. we'll give you that ahead. also later, part of gloria borger's interview with ann romney that you have not seen. she talks about her health scare this year on the campaign trail. [ male announcer ] drive a car filled with
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welcome back. our countdown to the republican national convention. you're looking at a live shot outside in tampa, florida, where we have seen some wind and some rain, but really not much throughout the day. just some outer bands of the storm. john king is over at the magic wall with a look at some of our
latest cnn roc polls and where the candidates stand right now with voters when it comes to be number one, the economy. >> it's fascinating. we know from our poll we have essentially a tie, a horse race national nationally. when you look at the issues, they underscore our poll the challenge for governor romney. look at this score card right here. this is how likely voters rank the candidates. governor romney has a slight edge on the economy. health care, the big question is repeal obamacare or not. the candidates are tied. medicare, the democrats hope to make a big issue of this. the candidates are tied. this is not the 1980s. president obama has an edge on taxes and on foreign policy in this election right now. it is fascinating. let's take a closer look. as you look more closely, other fascinating trends develop. here's the economy. look at this. a very slight advantage. actually, a statistical tie. this has to be priority number one at this convention.
he wants to personalize himself, but he has to convince americans he would do a better job when it comes to the economy. we have a gender divide. among men, almost a 20-point advantage for governor romney on the economy. the president has a slight advantage among women. you see this divide on almost every issue. the president, advantage among women. let's shift to some other issues and come to the state of virginia. we'll look at this poll. let me clean this up a little bit. if you look here, the deficit. this was a huge issue in the 2010 elections. will it be as big a turnout driver? again, look at this, a huge advantage for governor romney among men. a tie on the deficit issue among women. again, you see that gender divide. the gender divide helps the president among women voters. a key issue in this campaign, who would better handle health care? governor romney says he would repeal the president's health care plan. a tie on health care. it's the same when you look at
the medicare question. again, this is just on the health care. look at this. ten-point edge for governor romney among men. a nine-point edge for the president among women. you might say this is the mars versus venus election when it comes to the issues. >> we're also here with gloria borger and david gergen. looking at those numbers, what does mitt romney need to accomplish this week? >> well, i think he's got a larger advantage among men. those numbers, then, we would have expected. there is some movement already toward him. but i think he's got -- to continue our conversation before, if he can humanize himself, if he can begin talking to women in a way that shows, as a man, he really does get it and he understands and he's sensitive, which has not come across. he's been robotic in so many of these instances. i think that would help him. it's an interesting thing. ann romney brings him out in the same way michelle obama brings out her husband.
they're both sort of loners as political leaders. >> people want someone to fix the economy. the question is, do they want to hire someone who's just an efficiency expert of some kind, or do they need something more on that, particularly women voters. you see it there. what strikes me about john's numbers, or cnn numbers, is that mitt romney, on the economy, is not doing as well as he should be doing. this has always been his strong suit. this is, i believe, our first poll of likely voters. >> our first poll of likely voters. like the smart political geniuses -- i'm a massachusetts guy. the obama people have made mitt romney john kerry. they made him distant. they made hymn elite. romney comes to this convention. he won't like this, as michael duca ducaucus. that's the challenge. voters make the question on a
gut. if they're evenly torn when they look at the issues, they make a gut check. do they trust him? do they think he gets them? >> for alex and james, i mean f the economy is the number one issue, clearly mitt romney seems to be doing very well on that. >> he's doing better than barack, but doing better than the guy who has 8% unemployment and you're the challenger and people don't see you as a real change, those numbers are problematic. >> so you see those economy numbers even from mitt romney -- >> i think david was right. those numbers need to improve. there's only one president. the president has a unique job. he is the moses of our political culture. a president's job is to take the country to the promise land. it's not just fixi inin ining t economy. he's the guy that's supposed to say, look over the horizon. follow me. i'm going to lead us to a better place. barack obama has made this election about the past. don't go back to bush and wall street and all the people screwing the middle class.
that's all mitt romney is. he can't litigate the president. there's one base open here for mitt romney. that's what he has to do this week. he has to say, we're not going back. we're going to a better place. follow me. i'm going to lead you there. that hasn't happened yet. that's why nose economic numbers are what they are. >> if i was president obama and gooid into election day four points down, i'd feel pretty good. >> exactly. >> i think that by and large, you know, this is his first shot. i believe this. i think the storm hurts romney. >> hurts romney? >> we're spending one-third of our time talking about the storm. he's got a competing story, which is exactly what you don't want. he needs unfettered, unrestricted session with the american people. this is a distracting event. >> what if tuesday night there's a big storm hitting new orleans?
>> if there's a devastating storm in new orleans, they almost have to move it back a little bit. he needs to clear the decks and have a clear conversation. if new orleans is under siege, he can't do that. >> he can't do that. people will move it. i want to be very clear. he has nothing to do with it. he's got to pull it off. he's got to have an unfettered conversation with people. he's got to pull it off. alex and i were talking about this in the back. i don't know why they don't just go take the thing and go to friday night. it's just almost impossible to do. it takes so long to produce one of these things and put it together. there's so many moving pieces to a campaign for the media, for everyone else. >> to do a friday night, especially a summer friday. >> even to add a day to something like this. one of the big questions is, are conventions like this going to last? >> also, we want to talk about how much of an impact a convention like this really has. let's look back at numbers from previous conventions.
let's talk first about tropical storm isaac. because of that, republicans have had to make a number of changes. let's go to wolf blitzer. >> no doubt, anderson, that republicans have spent so many hours today, yesterday. they're trying to figure out how to pack four days of action into only three. we're about to see if that could further change as a result of what's going on. we'll have the latest on the scheduling nightmare. we'll also take you around the convention hall as only cnn can k from the best seats in the house to the nosebleed section. everyone has goals. take the steps to reach yours, with us with real advice, for real goals. the us bank wealth management advisor can help you. every step of the way. from big steps, to little steps. since 1863 we've helped guide our clients,
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we're here in tampa bay. a live picture at the tampa bay times forum, the site of the republican national convention. let's go to the floor right now. there have been changes galore so far. maybe as a result of isaac, there could be more. what are you hearing? >> well, they're opening up the possibility for lots of changes. what we know so far is that the convention that was supposed to start tomorrow is now being condensed to three days, tuesday to thursday. there were parts that were completely canceled, parts that officials call nonessential. the speeches that are being given, they've been asked to shorten those speeches. mitt romney, he was supposed to be officially nominated tomorrow
night. that's moved to tuesday. he will accept the nomination still on thursday. the main speaker tomorrow night, jeb bush, the popular former governor of the state, is now going to speak on thursday. big unknown. they're opening the possibility to maybe cancelling, if they have to, if the storm does hit new orleans. >> how are the delegates handling all these changes? >> it's very interesting. because of the technology today, wolf, a lot of these delegations already had some pretty intricate plans in place to get information to the delegates for minor changes or scheduling things. now they're using it for weather alerts. i'm here in ohio. we went this morning to the registration for the ohio delegation. we went to their hotel. we got a peek at how they're doing this and it has to do with text messaging. take a look. >> we have this text messaging service, which will allow somebody to text this message to this number and then they'll go
in to our system. if we need to send them an emergency alert, we can go into our program, type that alert, and it will send it to our delegation immediately. >> now, in the case of ohio delegation, we're told nobody was delayed. they're all here. that's a different story when it comes to the delegates coming from the gulf states. we know the governors of louisiana and other states are staying back because they'll have potentially emergencies in their states. wolf. >> yeah, i suspect there will be a lot of changes. dana, thanks very much. we also have a part of ann romney's interview we didn't play in gloria borger's special. stay right here. she's doing to reveal the health scare that hit this year just around super tuesday. also, we're just about to get the national hurricane center's latest forecast for tropical storm isaac. stay with us. of progress. seems they haven't been moving much lately. but things are starting to turn around because of business people like you.
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welcome back to tampa, florida, where this week you're going it witness one of the most dramatic high points of mitt romney's career. mitt romney and his wife went through another dramatic and very scary moment early in the campaign. they talked about it during a very candid interview with my cnn colleague gloria borger. the health scare that ann romney went through a lot of people didn't know about. >> right. it was with multiplesclerosis. it was frightening for both of them. >> i know after super tuesday, for example, you kind of had a bit of a relapse. >> i did. i did. i overdid, and i knew i was
overdoing. that's the one thing about this disease. i try to explain to people, too, it's like everyone else has a reserve tank. with ms, you go to empty and you go to pemty and that's it. you can't take another step. you will fall over. that's kind of what happened to me. around the super tuesday time. i knew i was pushing my limit, but i also didn't say anything to anyone. >> did he notice, or did -- >> no, but i don't blame him for not noticing. no one noticed. everyone was so busy. i don't think i was even in the same state. i was going to my own states. i was doing my own thing in michigan. i was just on my own. i think, you know, for me, i just had to get past that mile mark and i'd be okay and i could rest. but i didn't quite make it to the mile mark. i kind of collapsed before it. >> literally collapsed. so i know that the ms can be triggered by stress, right?
well, it's not like you don't have any of that in your life right now. but you deal with it. >> i have to deal with it. i'm telling you, it is a great teacher. it really is. because you can't absorb all this that's going on around me. there's a lot of noise. there's a lot of negative noise going on around me, around my husband during this campaign. i have to learn how it not let that get into my psyche. >> joining us now are all our contributors and analysts. gloria, how does she do that? >> it's remarkable. i think what she was telling me is that she carves out time, and she goes away. she rests and she readjusts and recalibrates and resets. then she's able to get back into it as he's going to do this week. >> all these candidates and
their families, the schedule they're on is extraordinary. i can't imagine the wear and tear on everybody. what kind of a first lady do you think ann romney would want to be? >> i think ann romney is such a window into who mitt romney really is that first of all, you seep the side of him you don't see in public you see in her. they are as close a couple as i have ever seen, not just in politics, but anywhere. i think wolf said it right. this is a real love story that has lasted. she is as down earth and open a person as you will meet. you know, what her priorities might be as first lady, i would presume to guess, she certainly has a lot to contribute in the area of ms. >> but she plays an important role in this campaign. >> well, they are one. i mean, they are as close a couple as you really will ever
see. this is a love that was there from day one, has endured some tough times, and they're both incredibly optimistic people. that's one of the things you learn when you first meet them. they are, you know, despite some of the struggles they've had, are folks that don't look backwards. >> they told me in a conversation about eight or nine months ago that she actually talked him into running this time. >> really? >> yes. he hasn't planned to do it himself. she was the force behind that. so i would think as first lady she's going to continue to be a critical factor in his life. >> she changed her mind. after the 2008 campaign, she made a home video, which i couldn't get, but she made a home video which said never again, mitt, never again. so he could look at her face and see it. then she had a change of heart. she believed in him. she knew he wanted to do it. you know, she's supportive.
>> james, when you're running a campaign, i mean, how much does one know about how involved the wife is going to be? >> generally, spouses are pretty involved. i want to make one point in terms of the physical stress. the worst is behind them. the primaries are much, much more gruesome than the general. >> really? >> absolutely. you're going from state to state. you don't have near the stuff, near the infrastructure. she'll come to tampa. she'll have people to pick her up. everything will be done. when you're doing the primaries, you might be in south carolina one day, illinois the next day, a fundraiser here. >> in a tiny plane. >> yes, and it's a much, much -- particularly if you have a health issue, it's much more taxing. >> that's the physical stress. >> right. >> then you're getting -- the higher you get on the ladder, the emotional stress of a general election, you're now playing for the leadership of the free world. there is no silver medal in
politics. loser leaves town. there is a lot of stress either way. >> you got a lot of different elections you go through. >> does it change a lot after the vice presidential candidate has been selected? people have commented mitt romney seems more energized now. >> what they say is two is better. they campaign together. they draw off the energy of each other. you see that remarked on quite frequently. then the campaign has to make a decision. do you split them up? obviously two people can be in two places at one time. they do fundraisers. i suspect what happens more often than not is at the beginning it's just a really nice thing and they spend a lot of time together. they get so many requests, they have to split them up. >> one more thing we may see, and alex can talk to this, she said one of the most important things in her life when she was first diagnosed was learning to ride a horse really well. she spent a lot of time on
horses. she thinks it healed her. she paid a price for this. the flip side of the story. >> she's tried a lot of stuff. reflexologists and all kinds of things. her kids talk about it. she did whatever she felt she needed. >> was there something that surprised you most in doing this documentary, either about her or him? >> what surprised me was when i got to the house, she was doing the laundry. >> she said that in the documentary. i didn't really believe it. >> no, no. she has four big washing machines there. she was doing the sheets and towels. you can see why she sometimes gets exhausted. >> and you're saying the house is -- >> lived in. >> it's a lived in house. >> yeah, it's big, but it's lived in like you could see five boys grew up there. >> that's one of the pictures that could come out of this week. this will be the country's first chance to see what might it be like to see 18 grandchildren on the white house lawn.
all of the sudden than distant mitt romney would come a lot closer. >> interesting. and ann romney in the documentary was saying how different he is at home, not in the public eye. we're about to take you on a vip tour of this convention hall. they've been rehearsing all day. from the speaker podium to the nosebleed seats and more. plus, as thunderstorm isaac heads toward the gulf coast, officials scramble to prevent a repeat of hurricane katrina. details ahead. ♪ (train horn)
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thousands and thousands of delegates are very excited. they're getting ready for the start of this convention. it was supposed to start on monday. technically, it will. it really won't start until tuesday. there are good seats, not such good seats, bad seats. dana bash is here. you have some good seats here. massachusetts, the home state of the republican presidential candidate. >> absolutely. if he doesn't get prime seating for his home state, who does? this is massachusetts. it's where governor romney was the governor several years ago. now, massachusetts is, of course, historically a blue state. it still is a blue state. it's not used to getting this kind of prime seating here. look at this. front row seats at a republican convention. we've talked some delegates who are stunned they're so close. this is another state right here that has a very, very, very good position. michigan. it is, of course, mitt romney's home state. it's where he was born. it's where his father was governor. i want to take you over here, as we talk about the midwest, michigan is relatively safe for
barack obama. mitt romney, despite being born there, doesn't really have that much of a shot. there's another state in the midwest, wisconsin, where the republicans think they have a good shot. the main reason these days is because that's where the vice presidential running mate, paul ryan, is from. wisconsin, front row seats. pretty nice real estate. these are the seats that people are happy about. maybe not so much where my friend erin burnett is back there. sorry, erin. the nosebleeds back there. >> it is the nosebleeds. i can see dana way across the r room. nevada is one of the states i want to talk about here. also, as i come up, i guess it gets a little bit better as you move up a few feet. not very much. maine, and you can see the view behind he. we're very far from the podium. nevada and maine, two of the four states where the majority of the delegates actually support ron paul. thingsing get interesting back here. perhaps that is why we're really in the way, way far back. really right here by the exits
and by the walls. perhaps ron paul has something to do with that. now to a place where there is some of the best seating in the entire house. jim acosta is standing there. >> that's right, erin. thank you very much. i can tell you from talking to people inside the romney campaign is one of the images they want to put out this week is of mitt and ann romney and their five sons. nearly all of their 18 grandchildren will be here for the convention this week. this is where members of the romney family will be sitting. this is the vip box. also some very high profile surrogates. will we see a former president in here? will we see chris christie? we don't have all those details just yet. we do know this is going to be a very important piece of real estate for this convention. it's also where the wife of the candidate, ann romney, will be watching her husband deliver what will be the speech of his lifetime. for more on that, i'll toss over to my colleague, candy crowley, who has good real estate to take
that one in. >> i wouldn't trade this seat for many of them in the house. i am, well, maybe 100 feet from where mitt romney will make the speech of his political lifetime. that's for sure. this is the cat bird seat in terms of what mitt romney will see. when he looks out, he's going to see friends. he's going to see folks in the michigan delegation. he's going to see folks in the massachusetts delegation. he will begin by coming down sort of behind this curtain. he comes out. he looks up. he will see as we do now all of the balloons ready to drop when this convention comes to its conclusion. about 2300 delegates, slightly less than that, will be on the floor. when it comes to mitt romney's speech in that final night, you will see republicans flood the floor. they will give out passes so that this entire building, which seats about 22,000, many of these seats will be filled all the way up to the rafters.
you know, anderson cooper, i was going to say this is the cat bird seat, but yours may be up there. >> yeah, it certainly feels like it. we're in the sky box. i'll be watching the convention from here along with our analysts and our contributors. basically, we are across the floor from where candy crowley was. we have a direct view of the stage. we're right over where the members of the romney family will be sitting. the stakes and the battles ahead, we'll talk about all that when we come back. [ male announ] citi turns 200 this year. in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones. but, through it all, we've persevered, supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our anniversary matter to you? because for 200 years, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement. and the next great idea could be yours. ♪ and the next great idea could be yours. ♪
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you're looking at the exterior here of the forum where the republican national convention will be held this week. the convention may dodge the brunt of the tropical storm isaac. it has definitely dodged the brunt of it. delegates arriving here are still dealing with issues. joe johns is outside with more. we're hearing a lot of caution. what's going on? >> reporter: that's true, anderson. you look behind me, you can see a lot of rain. the wind is going to be the problem if there's going to be any problem at all. the authorities are particularly concerned about a bridge. the sunshine skyway bridge that goes across tampa bay. when winds get up to about 40 miles an hour and they're sustained, the florida state police here say they have to shut down that bridge from traffic. problem is, a big number of the delegates of the republican national convention are staying across that bridge on the other side of tampa bay. what do they have to do? they'd have to drive around the bay on the land, of course.
that could mean a huge traffic jam. so that's the big thing they're concerned about. not so much rain. just the possibility of wind here in the area, at least tomorrow, anderson. >> all right. joe, appreciate that. let's check in with wolf, who's checking on the situation in new orleans. >> it's a big problem. let's take a closer look at the potential hurricane threat facing new orleans right now. tom foreman is over at cnn with that part of the story. what's going on, tom? >> the simple truth is all the areas hit by katrina are in the potential path of isaac. that's obviously bad news. it's also good news in the way that the people of these communities on the gulf coast are much more prepared for what this sort of storm might be able to bring. if you look at the path, all of these areas -- if you look at biloxi, mississippi, for example, they were hit so hard by that storm. many officials have told me over time that a lot of long-time
residents before katrina, it was very hard to get them to evacuate. look at this. you see the damage there. when that area got hit this hard t changed people's minds. it's now much easier to get people moving along faster to safety. let's fly a little bit down here on our video on this wall here and show you further down the coast. as you move along toward bay st. louis, missouri, these areas, much, much more intense damage there. the simple truth here is that -- it says it wrong here. it says missouri. this is mississippi. there was a 30 to 33 foot wall of storm water, storm surge that came in here. this has made a huge emphasis in those communities as they've rebuilt to move a limb bttle bi more away from the coast to build up higher, either on pilings or higher ground. that's also helped them get a little more prepared. let's take one final flight from
this area. if we move all the way down to new orleans, ninth ward, areas like that, where the levees broke and massive, massive damage followed. people wound up trapped. they were stranded. they couldn't get out. huge problems. if you fly over there and look at that, you can see what happened as all this water converged. there have been massive improvements. this is the ninth ward down in here. the levee broke around here. these flood waters coming in here, the simple truth is there have been massive improvements like this storm surge barrier. about $14 billion worth of improvements in the hopes of holding off a storm. right now isaac doesn't look as big and as strong as katrina, but they're hoping that a lot of these ideas will help, even if it comes that way. >> thanks so much. we'll stay on top of this. we just want to let our viewers know, we're getting our hands on the new advisory for tropical storm isaac. we'll be checking in with chad myers.
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we're here in tampa. i want to check in with chad myers right now. he's at the cnn weather center. he has the latest on tropical storm isaac, potentially a hurricane. what's the latest information we're getting? >> well, the temperature around the hurricane didn't change much. the wind speed around the hurricane didn't change much. the track, again, changed to the west. 65 miles per hour. still the same color brightness. i think it's getting stronger. along the coast of florida and on the peninsula of florida there may even be tornadoes tonight. there certainly will be a lot of wind when the storms come by. this, now, the cone has shrunk a lit bit from pensacola. the center of that cone is through new orleans with a 100-mile-per-hour storm. wolf. >> we're thinking it could be a category 1 at that point o